Category: BME Spotlight Faculty

‘Frankenstein’ proteins offer better control for immunotherapy

Researchers have come up with a tool that offers a means of control over engineered cells, and it comes from a seemingly unlikely source: the hepatitis C genome. In combination with a widely available antiviral medication, the new system offers a novel tool: a highly specific way to turn engineered cells on and off, with an existing, proven medication.

Lighting up the Brain

Faced with a problem, David Boas will invent a way around it. Boas, the founding director of the Boston University Neurophotonics Center and a world leader in the field of neurophotonics, which uses light to peer inside the living brain, built a homemade Ethernet connection to speed his doctoral research (one year before the first web browser was unveiled) and wrote a software program to make a girlfriend’s research go faster.

Upgrading the Immune System to Fight Cancer

There have been few cancer treatments with such a promising future as using the patient’s own immune system. Known as chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, or CAR-T, this treatment uses re-engineered killer T-cells to attack cancer cells, but it also causes potentially deadly side effects. Now, research led by Assistant Professor Wilson Wong (BME) is opening doors to making such therapy safer and more effective.

Smaller, Faster, Cheaper

Boston University engineering professor Catherine Klapperich (BME, ME, MSE) understands just how powerful it is to have direct access to your medical information. She’s working to make that “little revolution” a lot bigger through simple, portable tests for conditions like HPV, malaria, and chlamydia that patients can use worldwide.